Many Americans approve of pot legalization: Reuters/Ipsos

Wed Mar 4, 2015 4:48pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nearly half of Americans favor making marijuana legal and think Congress shouldn't be able to intervene in local pot laws in Washington, D.C., according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Forty-four percent of respondents supported legalizing the use of marijuana, the online poll of 1,906 adults from Feb. 27 through March 2 showed.

Thirty-five percent opposed such legalization, with 21 percent unsure.

Possession of small amounts of marijuana became legal in the District of Columbia on Feb. 26 despite opposition from the Republican-led U.S. Congress.

Though marijuana use remains illegal under federal law, the District of Columbia joined the states of Alaska, Colorado and Washington in legalizing recreational pot use, and a measure similar to the District's comes into effect in Oregon in July.

"These results show that we can only expect more states to move forward in the next two years," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat.

The issue could resonate in the 2016 presidential election.

"It doesn't necessarily fall down the clear Republican-Democrat divide that we often see," said Chris Jackson, a research director with Ipsos.

Rep. Don Young, an Alaskan Republican in Congress, said: "This has always been an issue of states' rights for me, a position based upon a strong belief in the 10th Amendment and the principals of federalism established by our founders."   Continued...

Marijuana is seen under a magnifier at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles, California in this file photo taken July 11, 2014.  REUTERS/David McNew/Files